Published On: Wed, Jan 30th, 2019

Schotte loses appeal and is no longer MP


WILLEMSTAD – Former Prime Minister Gerrit Schotte is no longer a member of the parliament in Curacao and the parliament was within its rights when it stopped paying his salary.

Schotte, who is currently serving a 3-year prison sentence, appealed the decision to take away his membership of parliament (and his income) but the court ruled on Thursday that his appeal has no merit.

Schotte argued that the national ordinance revocation membership of parliament has not gone into effect and that there is therefore no legal basis to revoke his membership. The court rejected this argument: the change of the Kingdom Charter on September 16, 2010 – ahead of the dismantling of the Netherlands Antilles – states that draft national ordinances get the status of national ordinance at midnight on 10-10-10. The Kingdom Charter-legislation supersedes local legislation; therefore, the court ruled, the national ordinance went into effect on 10-10-10.

Schotte also called in vain on the Treaty for Civil and Political Rights and articles from the first protocol with the Human Rights Treaty. These articles deal with the substantial political and property rights that are at stake for him. They oppose the revocation of my membership of the parliament, given the legal uncertainty caused by the lack of a national decree about the date the national ordinance revocation membership of parliament goes into effect, Schotte argued.

The court also dismissed this argument: “No national decree was required for the national ordinance to go into effect and there cannot be any misunderstanding about this.”

Schotte furthermore argued that his membership cannot be revoked yet because he could still file a complaint at the European Human Rights Court and at the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations.

The court ruled that Schotte’s conviction to 3 years of imprisonment became irrevocable through the November 27, 2018 Supreme Court ruling. That ruling is not open to appeal.

Furthermore, the court noted in its ruling that Schotte has not yet used his options to file complaints with the European Human Rights Court or the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations.

Complaints to the European Human Rights Court do not stand in the way of imposing irrevocable consequences on an irrevocable criminal conviction, the ruling states. A treaty-violation only requires a “fitting form of restoration.”

The same is true for complaints to the UN Human Rights Committee. “A country is not allowed to frustrate an investigation into a possible treaty-violation and it has to acknowledge the outcome of it. That is not the situation here,” the ruling states.

With this ruling, Schotte has exhausted his options to hang on to his seat in parliament. His seat in the MFK-faction is now open but it is unclear who will take it up. Juniël Carolina is as the number 6 on the MFK-list first in line. However, Schotte said at his last press conference before he went to prison – on December 3 of last year – that he prefers Charetti Eduarda-Francisca as his successor. The party is divided on this issue, according to a report in the Antilliaans Dagblad.